Saturday, July 10, 2010

Green Blitzkrieg

Meet Martha. Martha is a mother of three and loving wife. Martha lives in a bustling suburb of a major city which she commutes to five days a week. She works as vice president of a major plastics corporation which manufactures everyday household items. Her three children, a little boy of 2 years, another boy who just turned 8, and daughter who is 12, live equally busy lives.

A typical day for this young family involves getting up at 7 and out the door by 7:30. A quick stop a burger joint for some breakfast sandwiches and then the two older kids are dropped at school and the younger one at the daycare. Martha then drives her tank of a car (a fancy import) 14 miles (26 minutes) to work to join the rat race with the rest of America. During lunch, she dives into her gym and runs 2 miles on the treadmill before warming up her frozen meal and then going back to work. She hits the door running at 5:00 and rushes to pick up the little one before heading home. Oops, forgot about stopping at a pricey “dinners-to-go” restaurant so she’ll have something to feed her family. After a dinner and a few hours of relaxation in front of the TV, she sends the older two to get ready for bed, changes the little one's diaper, and finally gets some free time where tonight she will read a book she’s been meaning to read for some time.

That was yesterday.

After reading her “Green Living” book last night, Martha was so convicted by her actions and sins against the environment, she called up her boss and tendered her resignation immediately. She then placed an ad on the internet for her truck at a price only a blind man could ignore, and 10 mouse clicks later, purchased at hybrid and bicycles for the family. That morning she made a couple of calls and was lucky to land a job as a consultant (for a green company lobbying against plastics) working from home. She donated all of the old diapers the little one was using (who is currently wearing a napkin she received as a wedding gift 15 years ago and is getting its first use!) and headed to the second hand store to look for cloth diapers and cooking supplies.

Later she and the tot made their way to the grocery co-op and signed up for shares of crops from local farmers. While there she purchased some of their excess produce and a $22 12/oz jar of local organic honey…

You get the idea, right? Today on my way home from meeting a customer I felt kind of guilty for putting so many miles on my car. A deadline pushed me to my limit and had a fast food meal for lunch (either that or starve) but that is a rare occurrence, and I felt guilt for that too. But I did come home to my family and the a/c was off and windows open. The air wasn’t chilly but it wasn’t hot either. There was rain coming and the air was quite clean. I had an edamame snack and some homemade canned salsa on chips and jelly made from fruit we gleaned from a neighbor. Earlier in the day I had a two minute shower which was lukewarm at best. Yes, the TV’s been off for the better part of the day. These things made my happy because I knew we made those steps already.

I hate to use the words “baby steps” but that is exactly what we’ve done. I try everyday to examine the impact I have on my environment and make changes which I can keep. It hasn’t been an overnight transformation like Martha and her family, but you show me a Martha and I’ll show you someone who needs to write for my blog. We could all use heroes like that! -Jason

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